Recipe courtesy of Hisham Johari

Malaysian Satays

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 50 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Inactive: 3 hr
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 appetizer servings
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1/2-pound skinless chicken thighs or beef flank steak, cut into 1-inch strips

2 stalks lemongrass, smashed and coarsely chopped

1 red onion, quartered

1 cup corn oil

1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 tablespoon ground turmeric

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon coarse black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons sugar

Peanut Sauce, recipe follows

Rice cakes, for serving

Sliced cucumbers, for garnish

Cubed onions, for garnish

Peanut Sauce:

3 tablespoons corn oil

1 white onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon shrimp paste

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 stalk lemongrass, smashed

4 small dried red chiles, crumbled

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup water

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 cups roasted peanuts, roughly chopped


  1. Put the chicken or beef pieces in a mixing bowl. Add the lemongrass, onion, oil, ginger, and spices and seasonings. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for about 3 hours.
  2. Heat a grill, preferably charcoal, to medium-high. Meanwhile, remove chicken or beef from marinade and skewer (if using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them for 30 minutes prior to using). Grill for 3 to 5 minutes or until cooked through, turning halfway through.
  3. Serve with Peanut Sauce and rice cakes and garnish with cucumber and onion.

Peanut Sauce:

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, shrimp paste, turmeric, lemongrass, and chiles. Stir to combine and cook over medium heat until fragrant and onion is soft. Add coconut milk and water and bring to a boil. Add sugar, salt, and peanuts. Stir constantly over medium heat and simmer until the sauce thickens. Remove the lemongrass stalk and serve warm or at room temperature.
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